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Emily St. John Mandel: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel

Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North... Continue »
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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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This title in other editions

Other titles in the Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing series:

Telling about Society (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing)


Telling about Society (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I Remember, one of French writer Georges Perecs most famous pieces, consists of 480 numbered paragraphs—each just a few short lines recalling a memory from his childhood. The work has neither a beginning nor an end. Nor does it contain any analysis. But it nonetheless reveals profound truths about French society during the 1940s and 50s.

Taking Perecs book as its cue, Telling About Society explores the unconventional ways we communicate what we know about society to others. The third in distinguished teacher Howard Beckers best-selling series of writing guides for social scientists, the book explores the many ways knowledge about society can be shared and interpreted through different forms of telling—fiction, films, photographs, maps, even mathematical models—many of which remain outside the boundaries of conventional social science. Eight case studies, including the photographs of Walker Evans, the plays of George Bernard Shaw, the novels of Jane Austen and Italo Calvino, and the sociology of Erving Goffman, provide convincing support for Beckers argument: that every way of telling about society is perfect—for some purpose. The trick is, as Becker notes, to discover what purpose is served by doing it this way rather than that.

With Beckers trademark humor and eminently practical advice, Telling About Society is an ideal guide for social scientists in all fields, for artists interested in saying something about society, and for anyone interested in communicating knowledge in unconventional ways.

About the Author

Howard Becker lives and works in San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including Outsiders, Writing for Social Scientists, and Tricks of the Trade, the latter two published by the University of Chicago Press.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Part I. Ideas

Chapter 1. Telling About Society

Chapter 2. Representations of Society as Organizational Products

Chapter 3. Who Does What?

Chapter 4. The Work Users Do

Chapter 5. Standardization and Innovation

Chapter 6. Summarizing Details

Chapter 7. Reality Aesthetics

Chapter 8. The Morality of Representations

Part II. Examples

Chapter 9. Parables, Ideal Types, and Mathematical Models

Chapter 10. Charts: Thinking with Drawings

Chapter 11. Visual Sociology, Documentary Photography, and Photojournalism

Chapter 12. Drama and Multivocality: Shaw, Churchill, and Shawn

Chapter 13. Goffman, Language, and the Comparative Strategy

Chapter 14. Jane Austen: The Novel as Social Analysis

Chapter 15. Georges Perec's Experiments in Social Description

Chapter 16. Italo Calvino, Urbanologist

Finally . . .



Product Details

Becker, Howard Saul
University of Chicago Press
Becker, Howard S.
Sociology - General
Arts and society
Sociology -- Methodology.
Edition Description:
Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
10 halftones, 15 line drawings
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Reference and Methodology

Telling about Society (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing) New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226041261 Reviews:
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